Study of the pathological mechanisms implicated in schizophrenia has recently been accelerated by the production of model psychoses through the use of Psychotomimetic drugs. Our laboratories have previously reported6 Psychotomimetic effects with Sernyl, l-(l-phenylcyclohexyl) piperidine monohydrochloride. This drug is one of a class of new chemical compounds which function as sensory blocking agents, with anesthetic and sedative properties. It was found to produce severe disturbances in body image, affect, attention, and thinking which closely approximated the primary symptoms of schizophrenia. Depersonalization, feelings of isolation and estrangement, concreteness, hypnagogic states, and repetitive motor behavior occurred in patients following intravenous infusion of this drug.
The present studies were conducted in an attempt to isolate the mechanism responsible for the effects of Sernyl and its relevance to the psychopathology of schizophrenia. A number of psychological functions characteristically associated with the primary pathology of schizophrenia were system